Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Manon Lescaut

Tonight I went to the opera, so exciting!
My friend Ellen from work informed me a couple days ago that dress rehearsals were free to attend and today at work she informed me tonight was the dress rehearsal for Manon Lescaut. All in all I was pretty stocked to be there since 1) this was my first opera experience and 2) it was in Italian with English subtitles which means I got to practice my Italian!
The performance was amazing, I can't understand how people can sing so beautifully. The story-line, however, did not excite me. Manon is this young woman who, on her way to a convent, meets a young student, des Grieux, and they fall in love after about 1 second of knowing each other. Now, I'm usually a fan of romances, but the character of Manon makes you crazy mad. Her and des Grieux run away together to Parigi (Paris) at the end of Act One. When Act Two starts up, Manon is living a life of wealth with an old man named Geronte who fancied her in Act One and had made arrangements to be with only to have her abducted by des Grieux. Turns out, the life of poverty with the young student didn't do it for Manon so she went with the wealthy option of Geronte. Yet, she still longs for des Grieux and when her brother brings him to her place she begs him to take her back. The poor sap says yes but when Geronte discover the two together he calls the police to have Manon taken away. Manon is too concerned with gathering all her precious jewels to escape and so the police have her removed. about greedy, clearly jewels have a bigger place in her heart than love for des Grieux. Thus ends Act Two. Well, Act Three follows with des Grieux plotting to have Manon rescued from banishment to America (Louisiana to be exact). What is this guys problem, didn't he learn from Act Two that she can't be happy in poverty with him? Well, he fails and rescuing her but does convince the Captain to let him go along on the trip to America.
Now, I think the production I saw might be the abridged version because Act Four begins with a lot of subtitles telling us about how they lived peacefully in America together until Manon's beauty got them in trouble. The Governor's son desired to steal her away from des Grieux and after a bitter fight which ends with des Grieux killing the son (well, he fears he is dead but we don't actually know if he dies) the two flee. When Act Four opens Manon and des Grieux are roaming aimlessly through the barren and uneven country starved and dehydrated. *SPOILER ALERT* Manon can carry on no longer and sings of her sad sad story. She sings, and sings, you keep thinking, "Oh this must be it, she is going to take her last breath" but then she comes back for some more. She FINALLY dies and the play ends. My friend tells me most operas have the prolonged death scene, so I am now prepared for that I suppose.
All in all, it felt great to be back at the theatre. I have been longing for some performance for my enjoyment and now feel my thirst has been quenched for a month or two.

1 comment:

Amanda S. said...

The best part of this post was when you wrote "*SPOILER ALERT*" out of concern for all of your readers who attend the opera. :-) You're so considerate.

That being said, isn't the opera cool? I saw La Bohème when I was in high school, and it was excellent. Delightfully melodramatic.